Monday, October 14, 2013

September 11, Wednesday in York

Sept 11, 2013        

We had our first English breakfast cooked by our innkeeper Mick, who sounded slightly Scottish to me but I found out later he was from Wales. Breakfast started with toast w/ marmalade and tea, then a fried egg, long wide ham/bacon slices, sausage, a small hash brown triangle, sliced tomato and mushroom, and the most interesting, black pudding. I'd heard that was blood mixed with oatmeal and fried, and it doesn't sound appetizing but so many people said it was good, and I wanted to try it. There were 3 other couples in the breakfast room with us, and two were English and they said it was good. So I did. It tasted like sausage. A little drier but mine seemed well done. Hubby tried it and he said it wasn't bad but he didn't care for it. I thought it was good but won't go out of my way to eat it. 
The weather was only partly cloudy today even though the forecast was for 50% chance of sprinkles so we headed off to the city center with just warm jackets. We'd heard the walk around the upper wall of the city was very interesting so we started there. Just inside the first stone gate was a wall with a staircase going up that you can see beyond the signal light. We climbed up there, went through a wrought iron gate and onto the second level. 
Once on top we could see across the city both directions. It's not very wide about 3 feet. Originally it was one sided but for safety a modern railing is on the inside. 
All along the wall are 1 foot openings for looking out, and narrower gaps for either peeking out or shooting arrows out of and being protected. 
I hung out one of the openings in the wall to see what the outside of it looked like too. It was massive and a lot bigger than I expected.

On the inside view of the city we could see behind buildings and backyards, and see the restoration area where stones and bricks are being  to repair the York Minster Church in the distance. The upper towers have a lot of work being done now. Unfortunately we never made it inside the church even though we peeked inside to see the beautiful stained glass windows. Still haven't found out why its bells rang for an hour last night when the rest of the time it just rings once on the hour.
We also got to look in some people's backyards and see some of the restoration work they were doing on other buildings too. 

We had to stop halfway on our walk because we had to get to a walking tour we were interested in doing. So we walked into one of the corner towers, and went down some really steep steps to get out. 
This is one of those archers windows where they would lean out. 
As we stepped out onto the street I noticed this little gold metal tag embedded in the street with a crown on it. It was the size of a bottle cap. I wanted to find out what it was, but forgot to ask someone before we left York. I'm assuming it's some kind of survey marker, but I may never know unless someone identifies it for me.

 We started walking around the city center again checking out the shops and looking for some in particular. 

Oh look! Another tearoom!  
Interesting way to mount a clock sideways on the wall.

I stopped in at Duttons Buttons someone had told me to find but it was nothing spectacular, just lots of everyday buttons. The next place I spotted was the Antique Center. This was larger than the York Antique Center from yesterday and was a little more varied, so I was optimistic. There was a lot of old Chinese antiques (carved stones) and I saw a sign that said costume jewelry so I asked where that was. I didn't see much that I could use but saw a few hatpins and had those taken out of the locked cases. One was a pumpkin colored stone with a design carved into the flat top, L22 ($35) the other a carved black stone. Also saw a golf club one similar to one I'd seen recently that was highly collectible. I was considering the orange stone one when I saw a  Victorian skirt lifter! I'd never seen one in person and it would be something I could use. It was L56 ($90), a little more pricey but very unusual. I liked that so I bought it. These were used by ladies starting in the mid-1800s to attach to their skirt and to their waistband to hold it up off the ground in case of mud. Most of the ones I've seen on the Internet were fancy but this was plain. I found out later it would be used for a riding habit or bicycle riding. 
Then we started another 2 mile hike around the city, stopping once for our Cornish pasties and sausage roll lunch, which by this time it started raining. We had no rain gear and I wanted a hat. All I could find was expensive hats. Where's all the souvenir baseball hats? We finally found a farmers market/flea market and found three baseball hats. One had NY Yankees, one white, one red. I got the red. I was the only one walking around town wearing a baseball hat but I felt comfortable and my hair was kept dry. We finally found the Jorvik Viking Museum and went in to see all the archaeological digging that had uncovered so much history here. There was a recreated miniature excavation in the ground with a thick glass floor you could walk on top of to see all the details but we were in the middle of a noisy school tour and couldn't hear much of the recorded narration. They've been making a lot of historical discoveries around the city in these excavations.
We ran across the York Cocoa House and HAD to stop there and try it out. 
It was delicious too but we barely had time to finish it, and no time to buy any to take home when we realized we had ended up at the other end of the city and it was time to go back to the other end for a hop on-hop off bus tour we were going on. So we hiked back another couple miles. We had decided on the bus instead of the walking tour because of the rain and we'd be able to see more of the city that we couldn't walk to.  
So here is our bus going under one of the entries of the wall to the city. 
This little gatehouse had been turned into a small lunchroom. 

We were able to find the York Dungeon, and the Black Swan Inn that our friends recommended to us for dinner while we were driving by. On the way back around we hopped off at the Dungeon and went on that tour. Its in an old building and really down deep in the ground/dungeon. I think we went down two or three levels in it. 
It was delightfully ghoulish and funny, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. And it smelled, maybe authentically? The actors were very good and our group of 10 people were all involved in some of it by becoming some of the tortured prisoners or being on trial. They invited hubby to be locked in one of the cages but he refused. The mirrored maze at the end was great fun. It took us a little more than an hour to go through it.
Back on the bus we were dropped off at our original location and hubby decided it was late enough we should head down to the Black Swan for dinner. At the other end of town again. *SighWe got some general directions to go there which we're finding doesn't work very well even with the map provided. The streets twist and turn into each other and of course street names are rare to find. Of course! Almost an hour later, after being lost 3 times, we found it. 
See the black cat on the wall above the doorway? Apparently they're all over town and they even have cat tours. 
But we were turned away because they were fully booked by a bus group coming through. They recommended The Golden Fleece to us (345 yds away/ 3 football fields according to hubby).
They had a white cat on the wall above their window. 
It was a nice pub too and the innkeeper had room for us. Now I could try some Yorkshire Pudding. Except they were all out. So my 2nd choice was Cottage Pie, and it was delicious. Hubby had his fish and chips again. He was also on a hunt for beer mugs for his brother and did a little shopping around there. 
Then we had the long haul back to the other end of the city and then to our B&B. It was 9pm, and fortified with Ibuprofen we fell asleep, dreaming of walking.
Tomorrow we'll be leaving about 11am and head up to the Lake District. Yikes, more driving!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Val,
    Loved the cats, so I looked up cats in York and lo, there's a site all about it: Neat stuff. Sure wish I could purchase a cat for our house.
    Very best,